All posts by Keira Grant

Review: Love from Afar (Canadian Opera Company)

COC’s romantic Love From Afar plays at the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto

The Canadian Opera Company’s production of Love from Afar was a decadent feast for the eyes, rich with highly evocative contemporary music. This 21st century opera was written by Kaija Saariaho of Finland and is the COC’s first mainstage production written by a female composer. The opera has received a great deal of critical acclaim and has quickly become one the most performed operatic works of this century.

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Review: Lohengrin (Opera by Request)

Opera By Request offers singers a chance to act out their dream roles in the latest production

Lohengrin, like many operas by Richard Wagner, is based on a medieval German myth. Opera by Request’s in-concert performance of this work on January 28 provided an excellent opportunity to be exposed to this work, which is not one of the most performed in the repertory. Given the cost of tickets to see opera produced by companies such as the Canadian Opera Company and Opera Atelier, taking advance of Opera by Request performances is a great idea. Continue reading Review: Lohengrin (Opera by Request)

Review: Tosca (Canadian Opera Company)

Tosca, one of Giacomo Puccini’s best known operas, is a tale of political intrigue, murder, passion and love. The Canadian Opera Company’s most recent interpretation of this work premiered on January 21 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. I should preface this by saying that Puccini is my favourite composer of opera and Tosca is one of my favourite of his works so my expectations were high. Continue reading Review: Tosca (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: The Debacle (Nightwood Theatre)

The Debacle by Susan Leblanc-Crawford and Anne-Marie Kerr is a one woman show about a woman on the brink of losing everything. Directed by Anne-Marie Kerr and starring Susan Leblanc-Crawford, the play is part of The New Groundswell Festival presented by Nightwood Theatre.

Throughout the performance, the protagonist, Margaret is ensconced in a makeshift wooden structure, surrounded by symbols of her relationship with her dying sister, preserved in jars. The items are used to tell the story of her life with her sister, both the joys and the failures. Her reminiscences are repeatedly disrupted by the persistent ringing of the phone, which she is unable to answer. Continue reading Review: The Debacle (Nightwood Theatre)

Review: Pub Operas (Tapestry New Opera Works)

Many people with whom I have discussed my love of opera have expressed surprise there are new operas currently being written, apparently believing that opera’s history stops abruptly at the end of the 19th century. This perception is especially tragic in light of the fact that Toronto is home to an opera company entirely devoted to new works. Tapestry New Opera Works current production, Pub Operas, was everything I hope to see in a new work. The work gently pushes the boundaries of musical and staging tradition, while still bringing richly textured, beautiful music to the listener’s ear. Continue reading Review: Pub Operas (Tapestry New Opera Works)

Review: Don Giovanni (Opera Atelier)

I suspect that one of the many reasons for Don Giovanni’s enduring popularity is the brilliance of the overture. In the first few bars Mozart, in his infinite genius, manages to capture all the themes of the piece. The overture is at once sensual, sinister and playful, three excellent adjectives to describe this opera. The orchestra did a wonderful job of setting the tone and exposing all of these themes before the curtain ever came up. Continue reading Review: Don Giovanni (Opera Atelier)

Review: Iphigenia in Tauris (Canadian Opera Company)

The Canadian Opera Company’s production of Iphigenia in Tauris by Christoph Gluck was a bold experiment in the use of minimalism in opera. I say bold because most seasoned opera-goers are more accustomed to over-the-top rather than understated. The curtains come up on a completely black stage, the only contrast added by black-clad dancers writing the names of the members of the House of Atreus on the wall in white chalk.

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Review: Machina Nuptialis (CORPUS)

There is no such thing as “the audience” in Machina Nuptialis (Corpus). The dancers are the wedding party and we are the wedding guests. If you are terribly bashful and would balk at being invited to dance or provide a light to a man wearing only white boxer briefs, this show is not for you. However, if you are like me and love the opportunity to ham it up with the officially retained performers and also enjoy scantily clad men, you will be in your element and have a great time. Continue reading Review: Machina Nuptialis (CORPUS)